Didier Stevens

Monday 26 June 2006

Restoring Safeboot

Filed under: Malware — Didier Stevens @ 19:44

I spend some time this weekend researching how to recover your deleted Safeboot key (in case you don’t have a backup). This How-to is for Windows XP, it shows how to recover the Safeboot key (possibly deleted by a virus like the newest Bagle, see my previous post), not how to remove the malware.

Case 1

If Windows hasn’t been rebooted since the infection and you haven’t made changes to your system configuration since the last boot, follow this procedure:

  1. Reboot Windows Enter “Windows Advanced Options Menu” by pressing F8 twice after the BIOS splash screen.
  2. Select “Last Known Good Configuration (your most recent settings that worked)”.
  3. You can now reboot a second time and select Safe Mode.

Case 2

If Windows has been rebooted since the infection, follow this procedure:

  1. Start System Restore: (you can find it here: Start / All Programs / Accessories / System Tools / System Restore)
  2. Select a restore point that predates the infection (i.e. the Safeboot key removal), this may require some trial-and-error if you don’t know exactly when the Safeboot key was deleted
  3. Confirm the restore operation
  4. Windows will perform a System Restore and reboot
  5. Click OK
  6. You can now reboot a second time and select Safe Mode

Case 3

If you’ve made changes to your system configuration that you want to keep, follow this procedure:

  1. Follow the steps of case 2
  2. Start regedit once you’ve booted in Safe Mode
  3. Navigate to the “HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Safeboot” key
  4. Export the key (right-click export)
  5. Start System Restore: Start / All Programs / Accessories / System Tools / System Restore
  6. Select “Undo my last restoration”
  7. Confirm the restore operation
  8. Windows will perform a System Restore and reboot
  9. Click OK
  10. Select the Safeboot registry file you exported and Merge it to the registry (double click the file)
  11. Confirm the merge
  12. You can now reboot again and select Safe Mode.

Thursday 22 June 2006

Save Safeboot?

Filed under: Malware — Didier Stevens @ 20:03

There was a new run of the e-mail virus Bagle this week. W32/Bagle.fb@MM, to be more precise.

While reversing it with OllyDbg (in a virtual machine VMware), I discovered that this virus employs a new trick: it deletes the registry key HKLM\System\CurrentControlSet\Control\Safeboot.

Deleting this key prevents you from booting Windows in Safe Mode. You enter Safe Mode by pressing key F8 during the display of the Windows splash screen when (re)booting. While the computer is in Safe Mode, it will have reduced functionality, but it is easier to isolate problems because many non-core components are disabled. Many malware programs won't start when running in Safe Mode, thus allowing you to attempt removal of the programs.

Despite the deletion of the Safeboot key, the Windows Advanced Options Menu will still appear, and you'll be able to select Safe boot. But you'll soon be presented with a BSOD, displaying the STOP 0x0000007B error. According to this Microsoft KB article, a possible reason is: "Information in the Windows XP registry (information related to how the device drivers load during startup) is corrupted".

That's correct, it's highly corrupted, it has been wiped clean by this new Bagle virus!


Tuesday 13 June 2006

A Ring Tone That I Cannot Hear

Filed under: technology — Didier Stevens @ 17:10

Teenagers have a new ring tone that adults cannot hear, because the frequency is too high: 17 kHz.

Test it with Audacity:

File / New

Generate / Tone… Frequency: 17000

Play it.

I cannot hear it. But I can hear a 14 kHz tone.

The ring tones are appearing on the net: here and here.

Analyzing the first one with Audacity (Analyze / Plot Spectrum) reveals a peak at 15 kHz.

Keep this in mind when testing:

  1. your hardware (sound card, speakers, …) must be able to handle the frequency (20 kHz is a common limit)
  2. when exporting as mp3, select the right sampling frequencies (Nyquist)


Filed under: Nonsense — Didier Stevens @ 14:02


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